Reviews

Review: JBL L8

The Authentic series from JBL is composed of two wireless speakers, the JBL L8 and JBL L16. It is the ?small’ JBL L8 that we will be testing today, soon to be followed by the review of the bigger JBL L16.

_MG_1321_smallThis wireless speaker features ideal functions to say the least, with the support of Apple AirPlay and DLNA protocols in order to stream music from an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, iTunes, Android smartphone or tablet. It is also equipped with an optical S/PDIF input to connect an HD TV and use the speaker as a sound bar. Two network controllers are available, one is WiFi (for AirPlay and DLNA) and the other one is Bluetooth with NFC support.

There are also two USB ports to charge your mobile devices.

Au somment de l'enceinte, une trappe amovible dissimule deux ports USB et une plateforme pour poser smartphone et tablette

At the top of the speaker, two USB ports and a platform for a tablet or smartphone are placed behind a removable panel.

Aux côté des ports USB présents pour la recharge des périphériques mobiles, un bouton de connexion WiFi WPS et une entrée analogique stéréo

Right next to the USB ports used to charge mobile devices are a WiFi (WPS) connection button and a stereo digital input.

JBL L8: quality drivers

As is often the case, the U.S. brand has not held back on the quality of the transducers and amplification. There is a pair of 4″ diameter drivers, along with two 1″ composite dome tweeters. Each bass/medium driver is loaded in a specific air volume, with a bass-reflex enclosure and a down-firing circular port.

L'enceinte JBL L8 est équipé de deux évents circulaires bass-reflex

The JBL L8 speaker is equipped with two circular bass-reflex ports.

The amplifier delivers 4×30 Watts for an announced maximum sound level of 104 dB at 1 m. This very high sound level lets you enjoy more than ambient music. According to JBL, the frequency response ranges from 45 Hz to 35 kHz.

Le cache en mousse texturé dissimule les quatre haut-parleurs de l'enceinte

The textured foam cover conceals the speaker’s four drivers

Les tweeters sont positionnés aux extrémités de l'enceinte, afin d'élargir la scène sonore

The tweeters are placed at both ends of the speaker in order to obtain a wider sound stage.

JBL L8: easy to use with Bluetooth devices

The JBL L8 wireless speaker has two circular tactile command buttons, one to switch the speaker on and the other one to select your source. Pairing it up with our Bluetooth smartphone was absolutely no problem. All we had to do was to keep the Bluetooth button pressed for a few seconds for the speaker to be detected. We were then able to listen to MP3 files streamed from our mobile devices, the possibility to set up the speaker via the JBL music app  is also offered.

JBL Music App

Bluetooth pairing is necessary in order to send the WiFi network parameters to the speaker from the Android or iOS system of a smartphone or tablet. From then on, the speaker can be used in AirPlay mode.

La molette de volume crantée est cerclée de LED blanches, qui s'allument et s'éteignent à mesure que l'utilisateur augmente ou baisse le niveau sonore

The sound volume wheel features white LEDs whose brightness changes according to the sound level.

La réception audio via l'AirPlay est la plus simple à utiliser

Audio reception via AirPlay is extremely easy to use

JBL L8: AirPlay and DLNA

The JBL L8 reacts in a heartbeat when it comes to playing compressed or lossless files streamed from iTunes, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The DLNA mode on the other hand was slightly problematic as the speaker was not able to play the files from Samsung Galaxy Note. Probably a compatibility problem between the Android version we used (CyanogenMod 11) and the JBL Music app.

 

JBL L8: TV soundbar

The Toslink S/PDIF input allows you to use this speaker along with your HD TV. Although Dolby Digital and DTS compatibility are not offered, the JBL L8 is compatible with PCM 16 bits and 48 kHz audio stream, which lets you properly enjoy digital TV, DVDs and Blu-rays.

L'entrée numérique S/PDIF optique est située sous l'enceinte, près de la prise d'alimentation

The optical S/PDIF digital input is situated under the speaker, next to its power plugs.

Listening impressions

The JBL L8 speaker makes quite an impression and definitely has a lot to offer. The low frequency range is balanced and has enough impact to deliver a good show. Obviously, two 4″ drivers can’t work miracles but the energy is undeniable. The medium and treble range will require a little patience from the listener as the speaker will need a breaking-in period of at least twenty hours. Its great amount of energy is a good point for home cinema use in smaller rooms. This speaker should be ideally used in Bluetooth or AirPlay mode and connected to an HD TV.

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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